FutureStructure

Scranton, Pa., 'Small Cell' Antennas Anticipate Needs of Increasingly Connected Communities

Wireless companies are becoming more usefull with the growth of new technologies, and in Scranton, these wireless systems are in high demand.

by Jim Lockwood, The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. / March 7, 2017

(TNS) -- Newer technologies such as drones and driverless vehicles prompted two wireless communications companies to propose small-area cell antennas on existing streetlights and utility poles in 16 locations in Scranton.

They expect demand from next-generation wireless systems and emerging technologies, including “internetworked” buildings, electronics and appliances called the “Internet of Things,” and environmental sensor networks.

The spate of “small cell” antennas targeting relatively small areas reflects a trend by wireless firms to improve their network capabilities, often in urban areas where demand can strain capacity and geography can present coverage challenges.

“These solutions not only deliver the connectivity needed today, but also anticipate the needs of the ever increasingly connected communities of tomorrow,” one of the firms, Mobilitie of Newport Beach, California, said in a statement.

Small-cell antennas also bolster voice and data wireless coverage by delivering faster downloads and streaming video and improved quality of phone calls, the other firm, AT&T, said in a statement.

“Consumers and businesses are using their mobile devices more than ever before to connect to everyone and everything around them,” the statement said.

The zoning board will hear plans Wednesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall by AT&T Mobility of King of Prussia to install such antennas on poles in 10 locations:

• Linden Street and Colfax Avenue.

• Mulberry Street and Colfax Avenue.

• Pine Street and Clay Avenue.

• Moosic Street and Meadow Avenue.

• Jefferson Avenue and East Gibson Street.

• Providence Road and Olive Street.

• Wyoming Avenue and Ash Street.

• Mulberry Street and Hitchcock Court.

• Mulberry Street and Quincy Avenue.

• Luzerne Street and 12th Avenue.

The AT&T application follows the zoning board’s Feb. 1 approval of Mobilitie’s plan to put similar antennas on poles in six spots:

• Spruce Street and Penn Avenue.

• West Lackawanna Avenue and North Seventh Avenue.

• Vine Street and Adams Avenue.

• Lackawanna Avenue and Mifflin Avenue.

• Cedar Avenue and Hickory Street.

• Pine Street and Jefferson Avenue.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated application, the zoning board Wednesday will hear a request from T-Mobile Northeast for a variance to construct a telecommunications facility on the roof of West Scranton High School at 1201 Luzerne St. In September, the Scranton School Board approved a lease with T-Mobile to place a 5- to 6-foot-tall cellphone antenna on top of West Scranton High School.

©2017 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.